You might be wondering how to set your goals in a manageable way. You want the goals to be a stretch, just outside your reach, but not so far that they feel unattainable. If they’re too lofty, there’s a strong chance you’ll get down on yourself for no being able to reach them…

Remember the goal of reading 5 books a month? How would that be if you weren’t much of a reader? My wish for you is always to find kindness for yourself, and I don’t want to see you get down because you weren’t able to achieve a goal.

So, start small. If you want to read more, try 15 minutes before bed each night. Or one book a month. Setting and achieving manageable goals (usually at smaller intervals) will help you gain the confidence you need to set those larger, loftier goals. I want you to dream big and go hard, but at a pace. Think marathon, not sprint.

Now, all of that being said… what happens when we don’t meet our goals?

I have an incredibly hard time when I don’t achieve the things I set out to do. I’m a perfectionist (that recovery is a daily process) and a high achiever, so when I don’t do what I’ve set out to do, I get down on myself really quickly.

You might be like me, you might not. But for those of you who relate, I want to share my own personal practice for not being so hard on myself: mindful self-compassion.

Mindful self-compassion (MSC) has three basic parts: common humanity, compassion for self, and mindfulness. When I don’t achieve a goal I’ve set, my nature is to be hard on myself, to take on all the blame, and tell myself that I should have done more, done better, etc. MSC helps me ease the burden of shame and self-blame ever so slightly, even for a moment. I may say something to myself like “Hey, you’re really hurting right now” [mindfulness]; “everyone struggles with follow through, and no one is perfect” [common humanity]; “you’re doing great, I’m here for you” [compassion for self].

I encourage you to try this some time when you’re having a tough moment; you can use my language, but if that doesn’t resonate, I encourage you to find something that feels more authentic. If you have a chance to give this a try, I’d love to hear how it goes–drop a note in the comments.

Setting (and Managing!) Healthy Goals

Be (almost) everything you want to be, for you first.

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